Single Review: Devlin ft. Yasmin – ‘Runaway’

As Eminem is gradually losing his lyrical and emotive finesse, and Kanye is shooting himself in the foot with his G.O.O.D. Friday offerings (we’ve basically heard his entire album now), the call for a rapper with lyrical depth has never been greater, particularly from this side of the pond. With the current onslaught of shallow rappers like Professor Green, Roll Deep, and Tinie Tempah, everyone is about girls, girls, girls, and party, party, party. But sometimes, even the biggest party animals wake up to find their lives aren’t fulfilling their real needs and ambitions.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to empathise with these kinds of people, as we all discover that counter-point in our lives; the point were we realise what we really want to do, and why we wasted so much time wandering about a maze of closed doors, with our vision clouded by false pretensions and dreams of somewhere better when the real answer was staring us in the face from the sound of the pistol.

Devlin, whilst only recently signing to a major label, has already proved himself as a very talented rapper with a strikingly emotive way with his lyrics; harshly realistic, they realise life isn’t always one big party. But he went underrated with his début single ‘Brainwashed’ peaking at just #21, so now, upon releasing ‘Runaway’, he’s garnered a lot more attention for the song’s hugely emotive video, as well as gathering Radio 1’s attention and backing; he’s been A-Listed for about four weeks now.

Actually, if you can remember ‘Brainwashed’, he spent most of the song explaining how he’s a mighty new force on the scene and that “you’re being brainwashed” by him. At first this may have seemed like very typical London-based rapper-talk but actually, it was a very clever move, because to me, it seemed like he was trying to say he had a lot more to offer, but wanted his name in the spotlight first, so that people would know who he is and what he stands for. And now he’s delivering that promise, that he had more to offer because ‘Runaway’, is simply astonishing.

“‘Round here it’s like nothing seems appealing/So let me know you feel the same/Throw your life into a case/We’ll depart from Victoria this evening”, Devlin raps in the section, before Yasmin takes over with the bittersweet chorus that seems to promise better things for the two of them, yet whilst we’re listening it’s brought to our attention that not even they are sure about their decision – “I gotta leave, I gotta go/There’s nothing here for me no more”, she sings along to the backing of a mournful solo violin, a subdued synth, and a timpani, which suggests Devlin also possesses a lot more musical knowledge than his grime peers do too.

If the lyrics weren’t emotive enough for you, try watching the video at the same time. Now there’s a challenge.

0:45… YELLOW VAN! -slaps.

It’s hard to watch that video isn’t it?

I’m going to leave this here, nothing more needs to be said other than this: Devlin may only have released two singles, but in those two singles he’s shown more truth and lyrical flair that people who’ve been rapping and releasing singles for year, plus, it just goes to show that rappers who achieve underground success don’t need to comprise their complex flow to gain mainstream success.

Rating: 5.0 STARS

Download: October 25, 2010 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘Bud, Sweat, and Beers’

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